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Produced in
association with
This guide sets out recommended
working practices for the safe operation
of a wide range of mobile elevating work
platforms (MEWPs) to include pre-use
inspections, transport and positioning.
The guidance will enable an operator
to carry out the required task with
safety and efficiency.
MEWPs Covered in this guide
1a - Static Vertical e.g. Vertical personnel platforms
1b - Static Boom e.g. Vehicle and trailer mounted platforms
3a - Mobile Vertical e.g. Scissor lifts
3b - Mobile Boom e.g. Self propelled booms

Note: Every care has been taken in the preparation of this booklet to provide
accurate advice and guidance. However, neither Universal, nor its employees,
accept liability in respect of the information provided. Universal Aerial
Platforms is a trading division of Facelift Group GB Ltd
Fitness statement Contents
The use of this type of equipment can be 1 Introduction
demanding both physically and mentally, so if 4 Fitness statement
you have any health problems such as impaired 6 Regulations and guidance
vision or hearing, or suffer from alcohol / drug 8 Operator training and duties
abuse you must inform your employer, so that 9 Hand over and familiarisation
they can assess whether your condition will 10 Machine categories
create a risk to yourself or others working with,
or near, you when operating a MEWP. 12 Structural parts
14 Power units
You should not operate any MEWP if you 15 Pre-use inspections
suffer from vertigo or do not have a good 3 and emergency controls
head for heights. 17 Travel to the workplace
5 and setting up
18 Use of outriggers
19 Safe working load
20 Travelling elevated
22 Barricade the work area
22 Working on the highway
24 Travel on public highways
26 Working close to overhead
power cables
27 Emergency procedures
28 Wind and weather
32 Use of safety harnesses
34 Employers responsibilities
35 Parking
36 Always
38 Never
40 Accidents and near misses
41 Procedures following accident
42 IPAF training

4 5
Regulations and guidance
Health & safety at work act 1974 (HASWA 1974) For every MEWP the operator must know:
Employers must provide: Safe working load.
Information, instruction and training. Maximum number of persons it can carry.
Safe systems of work and safe working environment. Maximum safe operating wind speed.
Safe transport and storage. Evidence of a thorough examination (6 monthly).
Accept responsibility for unsafe actions of his or her employees.
Working at height regulations (WAHR 2005)
Employees responsibilities: Every employer shall ensure that work at height is:
Responsible for own safety. Properly planned.
Responsible for safety of any other person who could be Appropriately supervised.
affected by their actions or omissions. Carried out in a safe manner.
Must cooperate with employers. Includes the selection of appropriate work equipment.
Must not interfere with or misuse any safety system Every employer shall ensure that no person engages in any
provided for your safety or the safety of others. activity including organisation, planning and supervision in
relation to working at height or work equipment for use in
Management of health & safety at work regulations (MHSWR1999) such work, unless he or she is competent to do so.
Risk assessments
5 or more people-record all significant findings.
Hierarchy of measures, avoid, reduce and control. If you have NOT been trained you must NOT operate.
Implement health and safety measures from risk assessment.
Appoint a competent person.
Setup emergency procedures.
Provide clear information and training to employees.
Work together with other employers sharing the same
work place.

Provision & use of work equipment regulations (PUWER 1998)

Work equipment is constructed or adapted to be suitable for
the purpose for which it is provided.
Equipment is in good working order maintained and repaired.
Employee must be authorised to use the equipment.
Equipment is inspected at suitable intervals to ensure
it is safe to use.
Employers must provide adequate training to operate.

Lifting operations lifting equipment regulations (LOLER 1998)

Every employer shall ensure that every lifting operation involving
lifting equipment is properly planned, by a competent person,
appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner.

Operator training and responsibilities Hand over and familiarisation
MEWP operators by law must have received adequate training for This is a demonstration of all control functions, safety devices
the category of machine they intend to use and be able to prove it. and special features of a particular make or model of MEWP
to a trained operator by someone of demonstrator standard.
Responsibility of the operator
Your first concern must be for the safe operation of the MEWP, Machine specific familiarisation should follow on from basic
the safety of the people working with you and also the safety of training and cover manufacturers instructions, warnings and
anyone else who could be affected by your actions. control functions. Safety devices and emergency lowering
systems should be located and checked for operation.
You must always follow the manufacturers instruction manual
and at no time attempt to or operate outside the recommended
limits. Proper care of the MEWP is a major factor in maintaining
safety. You must never ignore or interfere with any safety device
provided on the machine.
Remember if driving on the public highway you must hold the
relevant licence for that class of vehicle.

8 9
The new IPAF MEWP categories, with
abbreviations and brief explanations

Static Vertical (1a) Static Boom (1b) Mobile Vertical (3a) Mobile Boom (3b)
Vertical personnel Trailers/push-arounds, vehicle- Scissor lifts, vertical Self-propelled booms
platforms (static) mounted platforms personnel platforms

1b 3a 3b 11
Structural parts
Various machines use different configurations of parts depending Extending axles are found mostly on larger self propelled booms
on the make and model. Always refer to the manufacturers and extend to increase the machines base dimension in its
instruction manual before operating. operating position.
Outriggers/stabilisers are intended to increase the support area Stabilisers are all devices and systems used to stabilise MEWPs
at the base and also to level machine. by supporting and/or levelling the complete MEWP or the
extending structure, e.g. jacks, suspension locking devices and
Spreader pads/mats (sole boards) are used to increase the area
extending axles.
under the stabiliser/outrigger foot plate to reduce the point
pressure exerted on the ground. Jacks are ideal for use in leveling a machine after it is driven onto
sloping or uneven ground and before raising the platform.
Oscillating axles are mostly on self propelled rough terrain lifts.
They enable the machine to be used on uneven terrain and help
ensure that all wheels remain in contact with the ground.

Scissor lifts - Model shown Telescopic boom - Model shown

here is the Haulotte here is the Haulotte HA16SPX
Optimum 8
Articulated jib
Telescopic boom
Operator platform - Upper/Primary boom
with extendable roll out
deck extension.

Scissor pack
Lower boom/Riser

Chassis Chassis
Non marking tyres Foam filled tyres
12 13
Pot hole protection system
Power units
Various types of power units are fitted to MEWPs all of which When charging lead acid batteries it should take place in a
have their own hazards, so depending on the type simple well ventilated area, free from any source of ignition as highly
precautions must be observed. explosive hydrogen gas is produced.

Internal combustion engines give off dangerous exhaust fumes.
If used inside a building or confined space adequate ventilation
must be provided.
Pre-use inspections
All MEWPs must be inspected by the operator before and after
(LPG) Liquid Petroleum Gas is used in some types of internal use, this is to ensure that it is safe and that there are no obvious
combustion engines. When the gas bottle needs replacing this defects. The inspection must always be carried out in accordance
can be done inside the building but must be at least eight metres with the manufacturers instruction manual. It is also good
away from any source of ignition. Never smoke whilst refuelling practice to keep a record of all inspections.
or changing a gas bottle. LPG is heavier than air and will sink to
the lowest point. The slightest spark will cause an explosion. You also need to see evidence that the MEWP has a current six
monthly examination as required under LOLER.
Battery electric power units are used to power some MEWPs.
Remember that battery acid is highly corrosive and can cause
serious burns to the skin.

14 15
Emergency controls Travel to the work area
As part of the inspection both ground and cage controls should The MEWP must be suitable for travelling over the ground
be checked to ensure they are working correctly. This should also conditions found on site.
include emergency lowering controls. These emergency lowering
controls are on the machine solely to bring the machine down Setting up
safely in the event of an emergency. Points that need to be considered before travel, positioning
Check that all emergency stop buttons/switches are working or set-up of any MEWP:
correctly. Machine type and weight
As part of a basic rescue plan you should ensure that a responsible Always walk the intended route
person on site, who may not be working with you but who is Ground conditions
in close proximity, has been shown how to use the emergency Manholes, Basements, Underground service culverts or
lowering system so that you have someone on the ground who anything that may give way
knows exactly what to do if something were to go wrong. Overhead obstructions, power cables, building projections etc
Slopes or ramps
Never attempt to climb out of an elevated MEWP if the emergency Ensure the machine is leveled within manufacturers specification
backup system fails to work. Correct machine positioning
Area barricaded and signed

Please remember that weather conditions can affect the ground

for example; prolonged rain can make the ground soft so always
use outrigger mats, sole boards or additional timbers, check
machine level and adjust as required. The same precautions
should be taken if setting up on frozen ground, which can appear
much firmer than it really is.
16 17
Use of outriggers/stabilisers Safe working load
Some types of MEWPs are fitted with outriggers or stabilisers The safe working load (SWL) will be specified by the machine
which must always be used as recommended by the machine manufacturer, along with the maximum number of people allowed
manufacturer. in the platform. This is the maximum load that the MEWP can
safely carry, and includes personnel tools, equipment and anything
The MEWP should be on a firm surface and leveled to within the
else that is placed in the cage or platform. The safe working load
limits set by the manufacturer, sole boards/outrigger mats should
(SWL) must never be exceeded.
always be used to spread the load and reduce the risk of sinking.
Always ensure that the safe working load of the machine is
You should always check that all outriggers are firmly in contact
sufficient for the job, allowance must be made for any additional
with the ground before you raise the platform and at regular
loads that may have to be carried by the MEWP during the task.
intervals thereafter.
If you have any concerns about the suitability of the ground Other hazards that could reduce stability
conditions you should consult your supervisor or manager. Uneven distribution of load in the cage or platform - High winds -
Some MEWPs require the full weight of the machine to be on the Sudden impact - Side forces - Pulling or pushing on an object
outriggers i.e. the wheels must be clear of the ground. Always outside the cage or platform - Using the MEWP as jack or prop.
refer back to the instruction manual. Remember most MEWPs are not designed to be used as a crane.

Never attempt to travel with the outriggers in their deployed

position; you must always check that they are fully retracted.

A sensible policy is that sole boards or additional timbers must

be used at all times regardless of ground conditions on any
machine that requires outriggers or stabilisers for support.

Do not exceed safe working load

of MEWP. Vehicles have this
information clearly displayed.
18 19
Travelling with operator in an
elevated platform
Always walk the intended route beforehand and only travel with
the platform raised or extended if the machine is designed for the
purpose. Jolting, caused by an uneven surface will be significantly
exaggerated at the end of the boom and this could be a danger
to the occupants in the cage or platform, it could also cause the
machine to become unstable
Never travel any MEWP up or down a slope with the platform
raised, it is also good practice to use a banksman or responsible
person at ground level to give directions.

20 21
Barricade the work area
If you are using a MEWP in any location used by other workers
or vehicles you must ensure that the entire area is barricaded by
means of cones and warning signs. Never allow anyone to walk
under a raised platform.

Working on the public highway

If your task involves using a MEWP in an area used by other
vehicles or pedestrians, for your own safety and the safety of
anyone who could be effected by your work, you must ensure
that the whole of the working area is barricaded by using cones,
warning signs, flashing beacons etc.
Under no circumstances should any part of a MEWP obstruct
or swing into a lane of live traffic.
Arrangements may have to be made to control or divert traffic
using temporary traffic lights, signs and cones. Site managers
or supervisors are legally responsible for this.
It is illegal for anyone other than authorised personnel to direct
traffic on the public highway. Advice from the police may have
to be sought.
Operations carried out during the hours of darkness in areas
where the public have access require the use of suitable barriers,
signage and lighting.
If a MEWP is left on the public highway overnight, relevant
permission must be obtained from the highway authority
or police.

22 23
Travel on the public highway
You must know all clearance dimensions of any road legal MEWP
i.e. height, width etc. which should be marked in the cab of the
Ensure all outriggers, extendable axles etc. are fully retracted and
locked in place, if a slew lock is fitted you must make sure that it
is engaged.
Transport vehicles used for the transportation of MEWPs must
be suitable for the purpose and used in accordance with the
manufacturers instruction manual. Operatives carrying out load /
unload activities must be properly trained in the correct and safe
procedures to include securing the load without causing damage
to the equipment.

24 25
Working in close proximity to overhead Emergency procedures in the event of
power cables contact with electric power cables
Operators must always be aware of the dangers of overhead Do not attempt to exit the cage or platform.
power cables. Remember:
Inform all personnel of the situation and advise them not to touch
The safe recommended set up distance from wooden poles any part of the machine.
carrying power cables is 9 metres.
Get someone to raise the alarm and inform site management of
The safe recommended set up distance from steel pylons the situation, if possible get someone at ground level to stand
is 15 metres. guard and keep all persons away from the machine.
But in both instances with a fully extended boom Try if possible with extreme caution to gently move the MEWP
away from the hazard.
Always recheck the recommended safe setup distance if the
MEWP is to be relocated on the same site, remember high winds If it is not possible to move the MEWP away from the power
can cause cables to sway which could reduce the safe distances cable, you must remain inside the cage or platform. Inform the
local power supply company immediately. Do nothing more until
Never travel under any power cable with any part of a MEWP
it has been made safe i.e. the power has been switched off, this
raised or extended.
must be confirmed.

Steel Wooden
pylons poles

Barriers, markers must be

observed these are erected
to mark out safe working
26 distances. 27
Wind and weather Beaufort scale
All MEWPs have a manufacturers recommended wind tolerance. Description of Wind mph m/s

The most commonly quoted wind tolerance is force six which is a 0 Calm Calm; smoke rises vertically 0-1 0-0.2
strong breeze 28 to 31 mph or 12.5 metres per second, however
some MEWPs will have no wind tolerance because they are 1 Light Air Direction of wind shown by smoke 1-3 0.3-1.5

designed for indoor use only. 2 Light Breeze Wind felt on face; leaves rustle; ordinary vanes moved by wind 4-7 1.6-3.3

Always check the recommended wind speed for the machine you 3 Gentle Breeze Leaves and small twigs in constant motion; wind extends
light flag
8-12 3.4-5.4

are using. This information can be found in the operators manual 4 Moderate Breeze Raises dust and loose paper; small branches are moved 13-18 5.5-7.9
and it should also be on a decal (information sticker) on the
machine. 5 Fresh Breeze Small trees in leaf begin to sway; crested wavelets form
on inland waterways
19-24 8.0-10.7

Designed wind speeds are based on three second gusts, more 6 Strong Breeze Large branches in motion; whistling heard in telephone wires;
umbrellas used against wind
25-31 10.8-13.8

exposure could cause the machine to become unstable. Wind

speed should be checked at the working height by means of a 7 Near Gale Whole trees in motion; inconvenience felt when walking
against wind
32-38 13.9-17.1

hand held wind meter (anemometer) which is the only method 8 Gale Breaks twigs off trees; generally impedes progress
39-46 17.2-20.7
considered reliable.
9 Strong Gale Slight structural damage occurs (chimney pots and 47-54 20.8-24.4
slates removed)

Remember that the wind

speed can increase by
as much 50 percent at 20
metres above ground level.
Funnel effect between
buildings where the wind
speed will be greater
through the narrow section
can also affect the stability
of a MEWP.

28 29
Other hazards involving weather conditions
Sun can cause glare, sunburn and tarmac to melt.
Rain can cause flooding and hide other hazards; it can also
cause the surface to become slippery, soft and unstable
Snow and ice will make the surface slippery and hide other
hazards, extreme cold could also affect the ability of the operator.
Always ensure suitable Personnel Protective Equipment
(PPE) is used.
There are two main weather conditions that can ground this type
of equipment, one is wind speed the second is electrical thunder
storms, you must remember most MEWPs are not insulated so if
you use a MEWP in lightning you are effectively a big steel pole
waiting to be struck. If lightning is imminent the machine should
be grounded until the hazard has passed.

if you use a MEWP in

lightning you are effectively
a big steel pole waiting to
be struck...

30 31
Use of safety harnesses Correct PPE
Full body harnesses with short adjustable restraint lanyards are The correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should always
strongly recommended in all boom type platforms i.e. vehicle, be worn. This may include hard hat with chin strap, high visibility
trailer (1b) and all self-propelled MEWPs (3b). clothing, steel toe cap footwear, safety harness, gloves and eye
protection as required.
It is not normally necessary for persons working from vertical
platforms i.e. static verticals (1a) or mobile verticals (3a) to wear PPE should always be the final stage in the hierarchy of prevention
fall protection equipment other than in exceptional circumstances. measures. The potential operating risks can be greatly reduced by
good planning and safe operating practices carried out by well
Decisions regarding fall protection equipment selection must
trained operators.
come from a job specific risk assessment carried out before work
begins, and also takes into consideration the manufacturers
instruction manual.

Safety harnesses should be Never attach your harness

inspected by a competent to any building or structure
person and the information outside the cage or platform,
logged under a regular only attach to suitable

regime to ensure they are anchorage point inside
safe. They should also be the cage.
inspected by the operator
prior to use.

32 33
Employers responsibilities Parking
Some of the factors that should be considered by an employer Before leaving the MEWP at the end of a job always top up
before any MEWP operations take place: the fuel tank, if the machine is powered by batteries, plug it in
to a suitable power supply.
Ensure operators are trained in the safe use of harnesses
Carry out a post operation check of the MEWP and report
What type of MEWP would be most suitable for the task to be
any defects.
carried out?
Ensure the MEWP is stowed correctly and is safe and secure.
Does the selected MEWP have designated lanyard anchorage
points in the cage or platform? Isolate against unauthorised use by ensuring all stop buttons
are in and all keys are removed.
What type of task is going to be carried out?
What are the MEWP manufacturers recommendations?
Do you have a rescue plan in place?

34 35
Always ensure the Telescoping Function is: Always use the control functions smoothly.
- The last function used when going up or out.
Always be aware what is going on around you, constant
- The first function used when coming down or in.
observation is a key part of safe operation.
By using this method you will reduce boom flex and not be
Always be aware of overhead hazards, building projections,
reliant on out reach limit switches.
cables and even windows that have the ability to be opened
Always enter and exit facing the platform using all steps and etc. There may be many more than you think.
handrails provided, maintaining three points of contact at all
Always keep all of your body parts inside the cage to reduce
times. This will reduce the risk of slipping or tripping.
the risk of crush injuries.
Always know where the emergency lowering controls are, how
Always ensure that no objects fall from the cage or platform.
they work and that they actually do what they are designed to do.
Always have a rescue plan in place i.e. a responsible person
at ground level who knows how to lower the MEWP if an
emergency situation were to arise.

36 37
Never exit the machine at height unless there is no other Never use your MEWP as a jack or prop, hoisting loads under the
possible safe way of doing the job, a full risk assessment cage is not permitted unless the machine is designed to do so by
and method statement must be conducted prior to any the manufacturer.
such operations taking place.
Never attempt to exit the cage by climbing down the boom or
Never allow an untrained or unauthorised person to operate scissor stack.
the MEWP. Operation of the MEWP is your responsibility.
Never misuse, abuse or override any safety systems. These
systems are provided to protect both you, the machine and
those around you.
Never use steps, ladders, or stand on guardrails to gain
additional height, if you need additional height you need
a larger machine.

38 39
Accidents, near misses and dangerous Procedures to be followed in the event
occurrences of an accident, near miss or dangerous
An accident is defined in the regulations as any unwanted, occurrence
unscheduled or unplanned event or occurrence that causes All accidents, near misses or dangerous occurrences must be
an injury or death to any person or damage to any equipment reported to your employer immediately.
or property.
Following any accident or incident, nothing must be moved
A near miss is defined as an accident or incident which especially the machine, until authorised to do so by your employer.
almost happened and could have had severe consequences.
Always follow company and site procedure on reporting methods.
All companies should have procedures in place for reporting
such events. You must report any cases of severe machine shock loading
to your employer, so the machine can be inspected to ensure
There are a number of dangerous occurrences listed under it is safe.
the regulations. Here are some relating to this type of equipment:
collapse or overturn, failure of any load bearing part of any lift,
hoist, crane, derrick or mobile work platform.

40 41
Make sure youre trained IPAF Training Courses with Universal
This guide is not a replacement for training, if you or your staff IPAF (the International Powered Access Federation) is the UKs
require training, please get in touch to discuss how we can help most established powered access platform training programme.
you. Opposite are the details of some of the courses available. The IPAF PAL card is awarded on successful course completion,
this confirms identity of the bearer and clearly states which
We offer a friendly and flexible approach to training as we categories of MEWPs that the person is trained to operate.
understand that everybody has slightly different needs and levels
of experience. IPAF Static vertical personnel platform (1a) one day course

We want everyone who trains with us to enjoy the experience, so IPAF Static boom (1b) one day course
that they leave feeling confident with the knowledge and practical
skills they have gained. IPAF Mobile vertical (3a) one day course

IPAF Mobile boom (3b) one day course

IPAF Spider Training (1b) two day course

IPAF Safety harness user and inspection training half day course

IPAF MEWPS for Managers one day course

An essential training programme instructing managers on the
responsibilities and knowledge they require to deal with the
constantly changing demands related to working at height on
site and the use of MEWPs.

IPAF MEWPS Instructor Assessment Programme* five day course

IPAF instructors licence training course. Course objective is to
train and assess the candidates to understand the working of the
IPAF training programme and assess their knowledge on both the
machines and their ability to convey information to candidates.
*Entry to course is subject to criteria being met

IPAF Courses can take place at your own premises or at one of

our IPAF training centres, situated at Hickstead, Basildon, South
London, Newcastle, Liverpool, Southampton and Birmingham.

Please call 0844 264 1762 for more information, email us at or visit us at to view courses online
42 43
Additional working at height safety
training courses
PASMA Tower Training
All users of mobile scaffold towers are required to have
appropriate training for their safe assembly, alteration or
dismantling. This is a requirement of the 2005 Working at Height
Regulations. The PASMA course is the UKs industry standard
for tower training.

The Ladder Association (LA)

Subscribe to Cranes & Access and get
Inspection and Safe Use of Ladders & Step Ladders. This course your first two copies FREE!
provides successful delegates with a nationally recognised
certification enabling them to safely use ladders & step ladders Subscribe online at
and to carry out, and document, periodic statutory inspections.
For more information on this course call us on 0844 264 1762

The only way to guarantee that you receive every issue.

Call us on 08448 155 900 for more information.

Thanks to our authors
This guide has been written and produced by Universals senior
instructors, who have been training workers in the theory and
practice of working safely at height for more than 25 years. They
bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience and have
captured it in this short guide so that it is both thorough and

Wed also like to thank Vertikal for their support and the editorial
rigour they have brought to the project.

Universal has trained more than 30,000 people to work safely

at height and have worked with IPAF for more than 20 years
to continually improve the levels of safety in the powered
access industry.

This guide is not a replacement for training, if you or your

staff require training, please get in touch to discuss how we
can help you.

Training freephone - 0844 264 1762

Email -

Below are some helpful reference resources for further

information and legislation on safe practices for working at height.

Note: Every care has been taken in the preparation of this booklet to provide
accurate advice and guidance. However, neither Universal, nor its employees,
accept liability in respect of the information provided. Universal Aerial
Platforms is a trading division of Facelift Group GB Ltd
Universal Aerial Platforms
Design + Photography Universal Aerial Platforms 2012

Swinborne Road,
Burnt Mills Industrial Estate,
SS13 1GZ

Training - 0844 264 1762

Hire Desk - 0844 264 1760

Produced in
association with